3G.co.uk: Vodafone 3G Phone Xmas Blitz
The run-up to Christmas 2004 will be an important barometer of how things are going to go in the 3G space — 3G has had a disastrous time in Europe over the past few years, what with the operators paying billions for frequencies in the Big Spectrum Allocation Selloff. My own market research (talking to local teenagers and eavesdropping in gadget shops) suggests that attitudes are shifting rapidly, from “I can’t believe they’re gonna rip us off again with these new gizmos that I blatantly do NOT need, thank you very much” towards “I MUST have one!” And yes, as soon as I can get a phone incoporporating a tiny 3.2 megapixel camera that also takes my SD memory card from my other gadgets, I’ll get one… they’re clearly on the way!
“Europe : Vodafone today [22nd September, 2004] announces its extensive range of 10 new generation 3G handsets planned for the Christmas period, following the launch of the Vodafone Mobile Connect 3G datacard and the successful introduction of Vodafone live! with 3G.
Customers can use Vodafone’s new generation of 3G handsets in both Europe and Japan as services will be delivered seamlessly by Vodafone’s global W-CDMA networks. Vodafone plans to launch 10 new 3G handsets. The portfolio includes the Sharp 802, Sharp 902, Motorola E1000, Motorola V980, Motorola C980, NEC’s Vodafone 802N, Sony Ericsson V800, Nokia 6630, Samsung Z110V and Samsung Z107V.
Full details of these services and handset availability will follow in November.”
The specs of these new phones are fantastic (naturally)… for example the Sony Ericsson V800 will have a 1.3 megapixel camera, full 3G streamed media services, multiplayer games with a 3D Java engine, triband + GPRS + 3G for worldwide use, Memory Stick / Memory Stick Duo compatibility for up to 1GB removable storage, yada yada yada. Tres cool: the key thing is whether the 3G services can be (a) set up automatically without having to negotiate complicated contracts and manually tweak IP settings, or dealing with help lines that don’t know enough to help you [these things made GPRS in Europe really frustrating]; (b) robust and fast [the lack of which made WAP a real joke]. The operators know enough now to deliver on (a) and (b), but the proof is in the pudding. I believe part of the delay has been due to bullet-proofing the services, so here’s hoping they get it right!